Friday, May 25, 2012

The Death of 38 Studios

It appears to be Game Over for Curt Schilling's video game company. 38 Studios sent a company wide email to its employees:

"The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a company wide lay off is absolutely necessary.

"These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary.

"This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012."

Now that's not the same as bankruptcy. It's actually worse. A bankrupt company still intends to do business after sorting out its debts. This looks like the factory is shutting down completely. I'm sure 38 Studios will sell whatever assets it has, such as the multiplayer game it's been developing. They can't develop it further as no developers work for them any more. After that, the company is, essentially, dead.

Schilling received criticism for being a political Conservative that railed against government assistance programs, then accepting a $75 million loan from the state of Rhode Island for his video game company.

I don't like government programs like this. The intention was to lend money to companies so they'd do business in RI. But they gave a huge chunk of the money to Schilling's company, violating rule #1 of investing: Diversify. And what do governments know about lending money to businesses?

It's one thing to lure successful companies with tax breaks. It's another to give money to companies that may or may not be successful. And if they can't get funding from the private sector, there's probably not much potential for profit.

In some respects, Schilling is a hypocrite. If he's criticized people who have received government assistance, he became a hypocrite the moment he agreed to this deal. Then again, there's a slight difference if he's only criticized the government for doing it. I can't blame anyone who takes advantage of government help. I would. I hate most of these programs, but if somebody sent me a check once a month, I'd cash it. Wouldn't anyone?

I have no problem with the people who use such programs, my beef is with the programs themselves. And if Schilling only criticized the programs and politicians, not the people benefiting, then he's not a hypocrite. It's un-American to turn down free money.

Anyway, I'm really glad Curt Schilling never ran for office in Massachusetts. He's not that bright. I kind of feel bad that this isn't working out for him. Then I feel worse for the people of Rhode Island who have to pay for it not to work out. Schilling has claimed that he put $30 million of his own money into this. But it's his project, his toy, his venture. Rhode Island's politicians were dumb, and now their people have to pay for it. 1,051,302 people live in Rhodey. That's $71.34 per person.

That's enough to buy a video game.

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